Discources on Religions

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The continuing saga of the quest of the Malaysian Roman Catholic Archbishop to use the word “Allah” in the Catholic Church publication is of keen interest to Malaysians, Christians and Muslims alike.

On a purely intellectual and academic aspect however, especially those of you who are interested in comparative religion, I would highly recommend the ex-nun, theologian and highly-acclaimed author Karen Armstrong. I have read her A History of God many years ago and was immensely impressed with the expanse and depth of her work. She is also the author of Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time (There is a Bahasa Indonesia translation here but I can not vouch for the veracity of translation.)

Her book, A Case for God is a intellectual discourse on what god and religion means to worshippers, focusing especially on Christianity but including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Chinese spiritualities. She says that religion is “to help us live creatively, peacefully, and even joyously with realities for which there are no easy explanations”. Her earlier book, The Battle for God delves into the histories of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and discuses the fractious and often violent antagonism between fundamentalism and modern materialism. She says, “To prevent an escalation of the conflict, we must try and understand the pain and perception of the other side”.

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